Asbestos is a form of magnesium silicate and is mostly found in fibre cement products, like fence or roofing panels. The asbestos contained in these products is non-friable (ie it doesn’t break up easily), which prevents the release of individual fibres, unless the sheets are damaged or degraded.
Asbestos was formerly used as an insulation material, mainly lagging for pipe work. In this form, it was more likely to be friable (ie crumbly and can release fibres). Friable asbestos should only be removed by a licensed contractor. Laboratory examination of a sample is required to positively identify the presence of asbestos fibres.
When disposing of asbestos, please follow these steps:
- Separate materials containing asbestos from other materials;
- Wrap the asbestos in heavy duty plastic, tape it securely and clearly label it 'CAUTION ASBESTOS'; and
- Dispose of the asbestos at an appropriate licensed waste facility, such as the Red Hill Waste Management Facility in Red Hill. Please note, tip passes can’t be used to dispose of asbestos at this facility.
For more information about asbestos, visit the Department of Health's website and read their asbestos web page.
Safety Do’s and Don’ts
When handling asbestos:
- Wet everything down to reduce the number of airborne fibres;
- Use tools with dust suppression or extraction capabilities;
- Use vacuum equipment designed to extract asbestos fibres or sweep up any dust residues after thoroughly wetting down; and
- Wear protective equipment including a respirator (P1 or P2 type), disposable coveralls, safety glasses and disposable gloves.
When handling asbestos:
- Use high pressure water hoses or compressed air to clean asbestos sheets; and
- Break or damage asbestos materials.
Asbestos and City buildings
The City has a wide range of buildings. Some of these may contain asbestos. The City is committed to ensuring these buildings remain safe and fit for use. A comprehensive database on all buildings containing asbestos is maintained and a new labelling program is now in effect. As in the past, if any asbestos is found to be in an unsafe condition, the building will be closed to the public and staff until the asbestos can be removed by licenced professionals. For more information on the City's management of asbestos within its buildings, refer to the following;
Asbestos management - frequently asked questions(PDF, 2MB)
Asbestos management - information sheet(PDF, 981KB)